Welcome to PCF! Feels like there's at least three different threads here but I will stick to the chips one (have a lot of thoughts about challenges in building a home game from scratch as well).
People have said this already, but before you set out to buy a full 1000 chip set, GET SAMPLES. What are samples? Generally 5-10 chips of a particular set that you can get relatively cheap that you can sample (shuffle, toss around, look at the colors in person etc) at home. You can put a wanted ad in the classifieds here asking for various samples (based on peoples suggestions here) and probably get some for very low cost (some might even generously send you some for free, just pay shipping!). Since you don't have an active game yet, you have TIME. Plenty of it. Use that to your advantage by getting 5-6 sample sets and move from there.
What chips to get? I agree with @JeepologyOffroad and others that cards mold ceramic chips make a lot of sense, both for your cost range, but also for customization options, if that is important to you (maybe it's not?). At a relatively low cost, this is a great entry point. Me personally? I have a harder time, after seeing a full rack of Paulson's, purchasing any other chips, but therein lies the beauty and the beast of PCF. Be careful of sampling things that are TOO nice because... you will want them. When I started on PCF, I was hoping to purchase some Paulsons for ~$1-$1.50 a chip for maybe 500 chips... ended up spending $30k on chips in the first year here lol - no joke. It's true what they say, very addicting once you find the good stuff. So yes, stick to your price range but... grab at least one sample set of Paulson's just so you really understand the difference.
A lot of people purchase that first big set without samples or without research and honestly, they end up selling (or even giving away) that set within a few months. What seems like a "good deal" quickly becomes kind of a lost cause as they realize they want something else. You say you don't mind spending on nice things. Consider this chip set a nice thing. The one major plus of purchasing Paulson's, is that there is always a market for them, so unlike the cheaper stuff, you can actually sell them back if you regret the purchase or end up not using them. That's a worse case scenario, because you will love them guaranteed lol.
So I guess I'm all over the place on this but... sample the wares, understand what's out there, time is on your side, don't feel like you have to jump in just yet!
@allforcharity has a few traveling sample sets with a huge range of samples, just pay shipping to forward it to the next guy after evaluating the chips. I would highly recommend getting in on that.
For your budget, the BR Pro offerings are great, cards mold are good, you could probably get Bud Jones S2 (big easy) or R4 (roulettes then relabel), or a used paulson set from a chip room sale. The latter 2 options might take a bit of watching and work to fit in budget, but its doable. Any of those 4 options I don't think you have regrets over. Samples first though. Know what the chips feel and sound like before you buy.
I will also highly recommend not using the same chips for cash and tournament, at least not in the same night. If tournament chips don't all come back, the set can't be used for cash until they show up without bank risk.